Orbital : Brighton Centre

Michelangelo and Kubrick to a disco beat? That's entertainment...

There is something of a defiant, fightback feel about recent [a]Orbital[/a] shows. Maybe it’s relief at finally breaking free from their record label, or perhaps a backlash against lukewarm reviews of their ho-hum album ‘The Altogether’. Either way the

Hartnolls have certainly grasped the nettle and retooled their live spectacular for the post-trance generation. The Pop Art stage set of spinning space-station debris and

flickering screens is their best yet, gleamingly unobtrusive yet huge.

[a]Orbital[/a]l know how to rock a crowd, starting big and loud, then building to vast and deafening. The kick-drums of ‘Funny Break’ have been cranked to 11, the chunky electro pulse of ‘Illuminate’ fattened for Christmas. No room has been left for slackness or noodling. Tonight, every sonic texture is shiny and Day-Glo, every living creature within 500 metres a percussion instrument. Even right at the back of the crowd, teenagers raise their flashing electric wristbands to the skies and wave glo-sticks in each other’s faces.

Haven’t they heard [a]Orbital[/a] aren’t ‘kewl’ any more? Doh!

Yes, they play their drum’n’bass Doctor Who theme and yes, it’s cheesy as hell. But it is also funny and cheeky and gets a huge cheer. Lighten up, dude. It’s also book-ended by ‘Impact’ and ‘Chime’, two mighty old-skool rave reliables which seem to amass more hooks, peaks and orgasmic epiphanies with the passing years.

The Gatecrasher wannabes at the back go mental as images fill the screen of giant hands touching in slow motion over planet Earth. Like, deep.

Michelangelo and Kubrick to a disco beat? That’s entertainment.

Stephen Dalton